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Albert Park Supercars: McLaughlin wins historic AGP opener

Scott McLaughlin beat Jamie Whincup to a history-making victory at the first-ever points-paying Supercars race at an Australian Grand Prix.

Albert Park Supercars: McLaughlin wins historic AGP opener
Scott McLaughlin, DJR Team Penske Ford
Scott McLaughlin, DJR Team Penske Ford
Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden, Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering
Chaz Mostert, Tickford Racing
Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
David Reynolds, Erebus Motorsport Holden
Andre Heimgartner, Nissan Motorsport Nissan
Rick Kelly, Nissan Motorsport

McLaughlin and Whincup staged an epic twilight battle at Albert Park, both enjoying stints in the lead before the Penske Ford driver triumphed by 1.3s.

It was Whincup that made the best of the start, jumping from the second row to storm past Fabian Coulthard at Turn 1/2, before sidling up alongside McLaughlin to make a brief play for the lead at Turn 3. Unable to get it done, Whincup settled in behind the leading Penske Ford for the opening stint of the race.

The title favourites ran in formation until Lap 10, when Whincup opted to run the undercut and hit the lane. McLaughlin dived in from the lead a lap later, but Whincup had done enough to breeze into the lead as McLaughlin re-joined.

While Whincup had the track position, McLaughlin had tyres that were 5.3 kilometres fresher – and he was immediately under the Red Bull Holden's rear wing.

After a handful of laps as a nose-to-tail battle, it became a side-by-side battle on Lap 17. McLaughlin went inside at Turn 3, outside at Turn 4, and eventually got the job done at Turn 5.

It was the race-defining move, Whincup holding on to McLaughlin until the end but never looking like he'd threaten to re-take the lead.

"That was an awesome battle, me and Jamie," said McLaughlin.

"We always battle hard and fair, it was so much. The guys did an awesome job, gave me a great car. I'm pumped."

Coulthard came home a fairly lonely third, followed by Shane van Gisbergen to make it a Penske Ford/Red Bull Holden lockout at the front.

Van Gisbergen actually spent the first stint under pressure from Chaz Mostert, but managed to pit later and hold on to fourth, which allowed him to pull away in the second stint.

Mostert finished fifth having had to pass Scott Pye after the stops, Pye coming home sixth ahead of David Reynolds.

Garth Tander came home eighth, with Brad Jones Racing drivers Nick Percat and Tim Slade rounding out the Top 10.

It was largely a crash-free race, save for Simona de Silvestro clattering into Jack Le Brocq at the penultimate corner during an awkward overtaking attempt on Richie Stanaway.

The damage took De Silvestro out of the race, which Stanaway's day was later destroyed by a comical pitstop, which saw the car dropped on three wheels, and a rim in the fast lane that cost the squad a $3000 fine.

Van Gisbergen still leads the championship by 58 points over Reynolds, while McLaughlin is now in third. Whincup is still down in 11th, thanks to his Sunday DNF in Adelaide.

ClaDriverCarTime
1 17 new_zealand  Scott McLaughlin  Ford Falcon FG X  
2 1 australia  Jamie Whincup  Holden Commodore ZB 1.3040
3 12 new_zealand  Fabian Coulthard  Ford Falcon FG X 2.3139
4 97 new_zealand  Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 11.5501
5 55 australia  Chaz Mostert  Ford Falcon FG X 13.1104
6 2 australia  Scott Pye  Holden Commodore ZB 14.5371
7 9 australia  David Reynolds  Holden Commodore ZB 15.4476
8 33 australia  Garth Tander  Holden Commodore ZB 16.5209
9 8 australia  Nick Percat  Holden Commodore ZB 18.5936
10 14 australia  Tim Slade  Holden Commodore ZB 21.5637
11 6 australia  Cameron Waters  Ford Falcon FG X 24.0565
12 25 australia  James Courtney  Holden Commodore ZB 27.1645
13 23 australia  Michael Caruso  Nissan Altima 29.3104
14 5 australia  Mark Winterbottom  Ford Falcon FG X 32.2897
15 99 australia  Anton de Pasquale  Holden Commodore ZB 33.5805
16 888 australia  Craig Lowndes  Holden Commodore ZB 39.1634
17 15 australia  Rick Kelly  Nissan Altima 40.3264
18 7 new_zealand  Andre Heimgartner  Nissan Altima 42.3939
19 18 australia  Lee Holdsworth  Holden Commodore ZB 44.4747
20 19 australia  Jack Le Brocq  Holden Commodore ZB 45.6380
21 34 australia  James Golding  Holden Commodore ZB 48.6625
22 35 australia  Todd Hazelwood  Ford Falcon FG X 51.8006
23 21 australia  Tim Blanchard  Holden Commodore ZB 1'13.2437
24 56 new_zealand  Richie Stanaway  Ford Falcon FG X 1'33.6524
25 230 australia  Will Davison  Ford Falcon FG X 1'35.5942
DNF 78 switzerland  Simona de Silvestro  Nissan Altima
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